tv The Internet the Human Brain CSPAN June 2, 2013 2:15am-3:31am EDT
>> there will be very different impacts, depending on who you are. averages will not tell the story. the young and healthy will see big increases. in some cases, our survey says 200%. the number for illinois is 197. very close. sharp premium increases. others will get relative decreases. you just don't want to rely on an average. there is not a single number that will tell you the story about the implementation. a bit of get quite impact and some a lot less. >> this weekend on c-span, the impact of the new healthcare insurance premiums. sunday night at 9:00 eastern. also this weekend on book tv, pulitzer prize-winning author rick atkinson, live sunday afternoon. on american history's tv on c-
span3, a weekly look at the presidency, george w. bush and german reunification. sunday at 7:30. >> now a form from the 60 fifth annual on world affairs which was held at the university of colorado at older. this panel discusses the effect of the internet and new technology and the human brain and how development it is one hour and 15 minutes. >> hello, everyone. welcome. this is your brain on the internet. today is monday, april 8, and it is just after 3:00 p.m. my name is alan carmichael. i work with the boulder weekly. i would ask you to please check your cellphone and make sure it is turned off. we want to be sure that all cell phones are turned off at this time. thanks for coming.
i will briefly introduce our panelists and we will get underway. to my left is michael, he is a writer and philosopher. he has written many books and published in lots of amazing magazines. further down is thomas hardaway, a u.s. army veteran of 31 years. he now works as a child and adolescent psychiatrist and has a long tenure of working with children. charles love is right down there. he is a field professional in both geology and anthropology. he spent over 36 years practicing archaeology on easter island.
our fourth panelist is not going to be able to make it today. for that information, check the web site. we have a great panel and to start things off, i will hand it over to michael. >> good afternoon. i am going to stand up because i am too short for people in the back to sea.-- to see. let me ask, can the people in the back hear me ok? the people in the back, can you raise your hand if you are hearing me clearly? thank you, much better. all right, so i am going to address that question, this is your brain on the internet, by first asking what that word "on" means. what does it mean to say your brain is on the internet?
there are two usages. you are basically looking at your gadget, transfixed to your iphone or your computer or whatever other gadget you are using. there is enormous literature on the impact of that. there are dozens of books are arguing whether our use of smart phones and the internet are making us dumber, more isolated, smarter. for most people, i think that is what it means to say that your brain is on the internet. that the internet is doing something to you as you are using it. but there is a second usage that is less common, which i have spent the most time writing and thinking about.
that is the physical integration of humans and machines. let me explain where i come from. i am a dual cochlear implant user. i have been truly deaf since 2001. at that time i got a cochlear implant in my left ear. there is a string of 16 electrodes that are surgically threaded into my inner ear, lying flat against the auditory nerve of my inner ear. there are extra processes with this device whose job is to pick up sound waves, digitize them, and send them to a radio transmitter that is in that little round thing.
here is the battery that controls the system. so what i have inside my head and outside my head connect and work together a bit like this. that just sticks there. stupid implant tricks. [laughter] what it is doing is sending a radio signal through my skin to the implant and it is embedded in my skull just underneath the skin. you cannot really see it from the distance you are sitting at, but the 16 electrodes are inside my ear. i wrote a book about this that came out in 2005. the basic outcome of that book for me was that it is possible to put electronics into a human body and make that body believe that it is having a sensory
experience. that is what happened to me. that is what a cochlear implant does. it makes my brain believed that it is hearing the sound. when i think of putting your brain on the internet, is it possible to put devices inside the human body that allow us to physically, in terms of the brain, connect to the internet? can we connect our actual brains physically to the global internet? is it possible? is it feasible? is it desirable? what would it do to us? and it quickly outline some of the things that it might do to us. i spent a lot of time investigating the physical possibility of doing this.
with today's technology, we cannot do what we would call mind reading in any real sense. it is difficult to look at the firings, the firing of neurons in the brain. it means the brain is thinking about an apple. that kind of thing is possible to a limited extent with things sike magnetic resonance imager it is impossible to think of a person -- to tell if a person is thinking yes or no, if they are making a decision to add or to subtract something. it is possible to reconstruct what they are actually seeing eye looking at the neural activity in the back of the brain. but there are not many -- that is not really mind reading in a real sense. that is an attempt to correlate your activity with something that user is doing.
but the second book that i wrote, i try to push that further, and to outline a scenario of how could actually put our brain on the internet. i said at the outset, it doesn't mean that you can read minds. the only way to know the inner experience of the brain is to be the owner of that brain. nonetheless, i argued in my book that it is possible, in theory, to extract information about neural firing, infer from that what experience the brain is having, send that signal to another brain, and repeat the sequence in reverse, so that person has a simulacrum of what the center experienced or felt -- saw. it is conceptually just beginning to become possible to
talk about doing such a thing. if i have electronic implants in my brain, i can send the word apple over the internet to your device, which would make your brain believe that you are seeing an apple. the question is, what is the point? it is a bit like talking about e-mail in 1993. when i first thought about e- mail, i thought it is just a faster way to send letters. which is true, but it also profoundly transformed the way we communicate. in this book, i try to be a leading edge of discussion, saying have some way to imagine technology like this. it is hard to do because we are trying to imagine uses of the technology for which no social context exists at the present. i imagine is like kings working together extremely closely,
where someone had a sensation or saw something important, everyone else would immediately know that. when i hear the phrase, this is your brain on the internet, that is what i think about. i try to imagine these kinds of leading-edge technology and where they could go and what that might allow us to do. thank you. [applause] >> am i on the air yet? this is an opportunity that for me has been a little bit unexpected because i come from more of a medical and developmental perspective here.
certainly not an electronic one, as my wife will attest to. there is now a rule in the house that i am not allowed to be too close to anything that has buttons on it. [laughter] from that perspective, i probably would not have very much to contribute. however, as i began to -- the joy of this kind of meeting, the cwa, is it brings people of various backgrounds, and you would not believe the things you dropped into as a participant. i began to realize just how developmentally for children and adolescents, this has a profound effect. that came home to me a couple of years ago when i was on tour with the children's choir that i work with, and we stated a dormitory which had a lot of odd eccentricities in the cafeteria that were on the wall.
it was things like slide rules, and all my kids all the way up to a senior in high school did not recognize a slide rule. that seems kind of odd to really perceive that. in addition, they had a big cabinet on the wall, and it was a card catalog from a library. my seniors and juniors recognized that, but i did not ask them. i said anyone under the age of 12, tell me what that is. all sorts of interesting answers. nobody even began to get a clue to what that was. they would say it obviously has course in it, it could hold letters. is it a letter sorter? to listen to this conversation going on was very interesting.
when we finally tell them what it was for, that you had little cards in their that was each eight link to a book or a journal of some sort, there were absolutely amazed. really? you mean you made a card up for each book in the library? there was this kind of thinking that you could tell from people who had already been exposed to something were linked to something that is almost real time. it is reflected in the way they perceive other things that i had not really thought about before. finally, and i asked everybody under the age of 10, what was the big books, and they stared at it and not quite sure. it was a telephone book. the older ones, some of them had seen one because they still get distributed from time to time, but practically speaking, at least where i am in texas, they serve no practical purpose the way they used to.
it was just such an anachronism, something that was just a mark for these kids. when i read the topic, the brain on the internet, i was thinking about those old commercials where they had scrambled eggs and it is your brain on cocaine or whatever it was. i thought maybe this was something about the evils and the toxicity of the internet and the like. it brought home to me that as children and adolescents begin to think in terms of how they organize information, how they access information, this really is a different way of accessing and organizing information in many ways. when we think of the developing brain, the critical element of development of course is accessing information, adapting
to it, using it to adapt to something out, and going back and kind of a circle, getting more informations organizing it in your brain and and synthesizing it to go forward. when you think the terms of now how one would access that information, i was thinking more in terms of middle schoolers beginning to learn how to do research in a different way from the way i learned. the biggest trick there would be helping them to discriminate between noise -- and who defines noise? we would define noises being information you don't need. some people would say that is noise. others would say that is very important. the idea always has been when we have a research project, we go out and had a list of references, which over teacher had made for us, or we try to get those references out of other articles. we would go and look for information and we would spend afternoons and morning
discriminating and making little note cards of what is and always, what is not relevant to what i am studying, and what is extremely relevant. because i am a middle school, i don't know what is relevant or not. at any level we begin to think in those terms. i am not trying to present a discussion as a lecture as much as i am just throwing things out that might stimulate a question or two that would make some interesting discussion. as i see children who are disorder, who have various psychiatric disorder, from personality to biochemical disorder is, is the way they perceive people are interacting with them, how they perceive information that they read and alike, and how they learn in general.
i think the idea of being able to discriminate what is important and relevant is important socially. when you think of what we are really doing, we are editing. those of us who had cameras, we always wished we had enough money to buy tons of film so that we could take all the pictures we wanted to of the interesting things we saw all. but in fact we had to do our editing up front, because we knew we only had three rolls of our kodak film and we have to be careful what we take a picture of. now, of course, with infinite digital photography, you go out and take five pictures of literally everything that comes your way. they say it is easier now to store, but there are thousands of photographs being shared and no one has edited them. you have to take an extra step to edit retrospectively if you want anyone to look at them.
so the idea of editing are discriminating are thinking ahead of the information not only going to procure, but then how are you going to archive that information? when you need to access it from where you archive it, you will run into the problems that i have, and that is that i am of two minds when it comes to whether i have my old notebook. so i write it in here because it is easy to get at. takes so long to push the little buttons there that are not always spelled right. as you are talking about where we are in 19 -- we have so much available to us that it is overwhelming for us in terms of accessing in using the internet.
think of what it is for our children and adolescents. i have a hard time teaching them. they are teaching me. i had a 4-year-old who came in with adhd, but he was very focused on his new little thing. he was playing all sorts of things and going back and forth from one to the next. i was amazed at the 4-year-old, and i would not have known where to start on his little game. i thought that perhaps of any of you have a question, it might make for good discussion. [applause] >> welcome this afternoon. i want to start this out in any number of different ways.
my father always required us for children to be observant, be observant, be observant. and after that, think, for god's sake. the problem is, you never knew what you are supposed to be observant about. let me give you an illustration of that. here was a man whose mother was a classics graduate from wellesley college, wrote both latin and greek, and she married a sheep herder in central wyoming. only in america. and raised a son who would go on to get his ph.d. from yale. he had a pieces professor named richard foster flint. he took his little nine graduate student slaves and said all right, i want you to be observant. do a exactly as i do. and on the table in front of him
was a beaker full of a yellow, foamy fluid. he said this is a glass of human urine. i want you to do exactly as i do. so he reached forward and he stood up -- stuck his finger in the urine and then licked it off. the nine graduate students line up and did as they were told. at the end, he said you have all flunked. you are not observant. i put my middle finger in the urine and licked off my forefinger. so not being observed has its payments. that is what i was taught to do. my father said the reason he chose being a geologist in central wyoming was because he did not see much future in the back end of a cow.
the only other profession he had ever seen out there were geologist looking for oil, of course, so he did not have much of a choice, he had to become a geologist. they were really talents in their field. i want to mention this because of although i do have a variable background, i have taught for 40 years at the college level in rock springs, wyoming. one of the chances that i got was to realize, by being observant, that a handful of wyoming in the end chippings has a certain limitation, at least it does for me. there were 286 registered archaeologists back in about 1975.
to do archaeology of wyoming. that was the year that a first went out into the cell pacifica. i got out there and lo and behold, there were not 10 archaeologist for a third of the plant. if you have a choice, what would you do? do archeology in wyoming which is cold and windy and yellow and frosty and kind of harsh, or would you rather be in the south pacific, which is warm and breezy and green and colorful and sensuous. i did not see much future in a handful of flakes. at any rate, that is how i got involved with the easter island archaeology, and it is on the internet, a lot of it. if you are desperate for entertainment, you can always google easter island charlie love, and you will have more than enough entertainment.
i was involved in an excavation on the island that found the first trees. these are giant palm trees, and only a geologist would find them. nobody had bothered to look before. they were not being observant. i am not extolling the virtues here. when you get a trench be enough, the entire island is covered with the palm root molds. they are all contrived. i have not found one that was not contrived. you have to have mystery in the title or it will not sell. so i am sorry but i am really sanguine about documentaries of any source. what i want to get across is that there is a propensity in american culture to seek after mysteries.
it is a bottom line. if you want a mystery, it is not how the statues were moved. we have already done that. we did that 26 years ago. we made up a nine-ton replica, and we moved it standing upright like this, not lying down. that was the first time one had ever been moved in the entire united states. we moved it with 25 people. we put it on a bobsled-like thing and we rolled it forward. we moved it 150 feet in two minutes rolling time. now they are starting to to walk statues. they have not done the archaeology of the roadways. 27 of my students and i went down there and excavated 1,000 feet of roadway, looking for
clues as to how they move the statues along these roadways. these young upstarts have not done the background archaeology on that. the point i am trying to say is, when you see the new documentary on easter island, they will cover the island with trees. the mystery is how and when did it get to easter island in the first place. it produces a coconut a little smaller than a golf ball. and they take two or three years to germinate, and another 800- 1200 years to grow into a mature palm. you cannot recycle them. when you cut one down, it is down for ever. easter island is as barren as the desert of wyoming. that is why was a mystery as to how they moved these colossal statues across the island, some of them 14 miles.
some of them weigh 86 tons. whenever i give a little talk to engineers, i challenge them. you can make it five times if you want, and i want you to move in it vertically. the bases of them are always perfect. in order to be an archeologist, you have to be observant. you have to think. don't we all have to do that? everywhere in academics you should be being observant and think. that is the sole contribution i think i've made for four years worth of students, let alone being of field man. get them out there. when you see it in the field, then you have a much better perspective overall of what you are dealing with when it comes to research. i yield the rest of my time. [applause]
>> thank you to our panelists for all that. we will open that up to questions and answers in a moment. if anyone wants to ask a question, you can line up by the microphone in the middle of the room right there. in the meantime, all last a question of the panelists to kind of kick off this portion of our presentation. to borrow a phrase from the late, great roger ebert, we tend to kind of get into our own world as we move along in our careers. for me personally, that is the media business. the rise in popularity of the internet has been a huge factor, and one of the more interesting debates that we have includes long form journalistic stories in the boulder weekly.
our people with their of minute thought patterns that are in general, less attention to detail, more a.d.d. in general, with the internet form. is there room for long stories about important topic anymore? how do we get them to pay attention to, if the keynote speech this morning was written down in a 45-minute speech, excellence. are going to get people to pay attention to this? i just wanted to get some panelists' take on the idea of long form journalism and how you see it being affected by the internet. >> this has been a subject of
great debate, how the internet is transforming not only journalism, but the world of books as well. it is relevant to both of us professionally. you work in the media and i write books. the question is, what is the internet doing to us? i don't know if i am the best example because i constantly read long form journalism. i read more than i ever did because i have access to things on my kindle and ipad. i read more than i did when there were only paper books around. i don't know if i am typical or not. we have a proliferating media landscape with so many different things competing for attention. it's hard for one thing to command national participation.
when i was growing up, there were 13 channels on tv. the weekly news arrived on the doorstep in the morning. i personally am not really one of those people who are scared that the internet is damaging the long form. i think it is alive and well. it is so easy and fast and i actually read them. that is my take on this. i did not see it as hurting long form journalism. the question is that the media is changing. i see a bright future here, because it is so easy to distribute books.
that can only be positive in the long run for the book industry. but because the meaning has changed, the form has changed. the thing about writing my third book. i know that the first chapter really has to grab an audience. that is the sample chapter that we download on the candle. i have changed the way i think about the book. >> i think the idea of children and adolescents, and when you think about it, we really are the children and adolescents ourselves, have always had a problem with looking at a long, full story in terms of media. but i recall as i was getting older taking a newspaper and wishing there is more
information about something i was interested enough to read. you remember you would start the first six paragraphs and then it would say continued on 4a or whatever it was. you read some more and then unfortunately it would fizzled or stop. you always want to continue it some more. when it was presented in that kind of format, perhaps that was more enticing than going on to an internet format. we kind of dart around to something we think is interesting, and we try to absorber it completely in quickly and then move on to the next thing. many times i see this happening with children and adolescents, with their perception of a given topic tends to be a little more
superficial. i am not sure i can explain that. i think you bring up a really good point, that to encourage and really push our children and adolescents to look at things critically and to look at it at another level. i believe the internet provides that opportunity, but we as adults, and helping them to develop, have to develop the critical thinking in them and not have them go from topic to topic as you see when you do a google search. you will have 13 of these on a page. the internet affords us the requirements to push our developing young adults to do more critical thinking and look more in-depth and to value someone else who has done that for them and written a long article. >> i certainly agree with the
comments you folks have raised. after teaching for 40 years, i have developed some thoughts of my own about that. over the last two decades, i have watched the ability of my students kind of lower down a little bit. things are not as intense. that have shoveled too much stuff and they don't know what to believe and what not to believe, in part because their parents are not there to question them on it. you have gone from 40 years ago when you had one parent who was employed and the other really taking care of the youngsters and doing other things around house. we have now gone to two job workers, and the kids are left by themselves. the end result is they find other ways to entertain themselves. certainly by television, which is abysmal as far as i am concerned, in terms of content.
you do have some programs that are okay, but they are scientifically abysmal, too. they don't give enough detail on these things in it cannot find them. you have to have patience. your critical thinking skills have to be alive, and that is something we are not teaching children. look at congress. that is a grown-up version, and the end result is a rhetorical question, how many of you think the country is certainly on a downward spiral because we don't have a congress that does anything? they do have patience, right up until they get their pay check. so i am kind of discouraged. i think it comes from child raising. i think have the responsibility
is on the parents to make sure their children do it. not only that, do what? one of the things i've found over and over again, number one, i find the form kids to be the most responsible. that is because if you are on a farm or a ranch in your mom or dad says you have to go feed the cattle, you better go do that. if you don't, it is not going to get done, and you jeopardize the welfare of the family when you do that. ranch kids are the most responsible. you give them an assignment and it comes back the next day. but city kids find all kinds of ways of putting it off. that is because you have so many friends and peers. the ranch kids do not have as many. there are fewer distractions.
another difference is in the actual ability. those parents who have taught the kids to read out loud in the evening a story, read back to them. not only are they more articulate, they are less has a -- hesitant, and more apt to read more. doesn't get done? that is the problem. i think we have a lot of ills. it is a matter of being responsible and teaching responsibility. how do you do that? [applause] >> we will now open it up to questions from the audience. keep in mind this is just for questions, not statements, so go ahead. >> thank you, gentlemen.
thank you for speaking to us. my question is, now that devices like smart phones have put the infinite storehouse of human knowledge in each of our pockets, the ability to immediately reference any skeptics that we don't know about or are unfamiliar with, has not undermined the necessity for learning in remembering information and underlining the value of critical thinking. >> is the undermining our ability to come up with things on our own? >> that is that a fascinating question that you ask. this kind of question has been asked for 2500 years.
it is not a new question. 2400 years ago, plato wrote a dialogue where he complained that the existence of -- these new youngsters are going to someone and gaining knowledge, they would rather read a scroll by themselves and learn that way and not talk to people. it is as old as technology itself in many ways. is it changing our ability to remember things? i would say yes. but again, it has always been constant, media driven change. in pre literature societies that did not have writing, it was a tremendously valued skill.
you have to minimize risk of all your ancestors going back that far. it is a sign of spiritual dedication. we live in a time with instant access to facts. i think the tv show "jeopardy" is a really good example of that. it is the ability to memorize useless facts and spit them out of command. ibm has developed a program which is as good as inix.
what it does is free us to develop new kinds of skills. this is what technology has always done. it has always change the kind of landscape in which we live. you always have old-timers, while the youngsters develop new skills that are as powerful and more profound than anything that has gone before. it has changed the way we think about information, retrieve and redistribute information. i think that is good in many ways. so what if kids grow up not remembering what the capital of florida is. i think more valuable skill is to teach kids how to look that up. we can now spend less time teaching kids how to minimize and more time to think about the
available information, including its reliability. just the fact that is on the wikipedia does not mean it is right. >> i would really like to weigh in for just a moment on this really profound question. if i know where the information is, why do i need to remember it or memorize it? i remember coming through medical school and we had these big books. i remember looking kind of bewildered and people said you don't really have to remember all that stuff and memorize it, you just need to know where it is so you can look it up. i always thought, number one, i have a 15-minute appointment with a patient, so that is not going to work. information is something you really have in your brain for several reasons.
one is that you are constantly synthesizing other information with what you have already got. [captioning performed by national captioning institute] [captions copyright national cable satellite corp. 2013] that you are constantly synthesizing other information with what you have already got. if all the information is not here, so that when you add additional information -- my dad used to say i will give you the skeleton upon which to add all the information you are going to get from now on. and that skeleton needs to be added to. one thing i've noticed in children of adolescence and other adults is that a lot of times we have a lot of disdain for things we don't need immediately. why should i have to read heart of darkness or play-doh? i am going to go out and be an
information management technician. ,hen i talk to kids about that what we really need this music? bodyworks of art to select text that we are seeing? select textneed to that we are seeing? and the children come and say i am going to be this or that, i don't need all this other information, it means that they lose out on all that thinking that will have to be done for the world around them. if they don't know who plato was or all these other things, or have not memorize the basic that is how silly this sounds. you cannot really get into algebra and do that until all this operational information is at your fingertips. that is w it is so important
that the pre operational information, which is facts, figures, are at your fingertips, so that when you do the more formal thinking, you now have that information right in the unit in this casserole tt keeps getting more complex and more contexture early integrated with what you are going to be doing all your life, which will be continuous learning and sharing the benefits of that with those around you that we serve. [applause] >> i find my students like these martin bonds for really one reason of good use. that is, -- by students like these smart bonds. smartphones. where and when was magellan killed? they find out it was 1520.
wasyou tell me why he hacked to pieces? nocannot find it, there is analysis. you can find a point of information, but you cannot find an analysis. isn't there. [applause] we have anymore questions? go ahead. speak a little closer to the mike. your cochle implant, that is a most recent step in advancement of more closely integrating technology with our other capabilities. that is only going to become more extensive in the future, which will have implications for learning or how we access information for adolescent
development. when new york neural system was more plastic, what kind of indications might that have for how you think and process information. >> the question was, in relati to michael's implant and his one example of how new, modern technology is evolving us and the world, so just your thoughts on those implications. >> i have a lot of thoughts on that. i am just trying to figure out which stocks to pick up on first because it is a very general question. is one of the key points that i try to make when i talk with people about new
neural technologies and what they make possible. i think tt when a lot of people imagined a bionic future, that basically imagine what we do today, only bigger, better, and faster. dark, hearee in the the old resound, run in the dark. this is superhero fantasy thinking. the thing that new technologies do is they don't just let us do what we do now, only better. there are entirely new things that could not haveeen imagined before. this is the kind of thinking that i try to write about in my books and articles. i try to rig -- imagine different kinds of futures. in a very specific way,
gathering information from one person is happy, anxious, fearful, sad. that is the kind of information this.e get for encpting over the internet, that kind of information is fairly sparse. e-mail is prone to contusion. they have access to each other's emotional status. be verythat could porful collectively or in groups. we never know how group of people steing at a given moment. a patient during the arab spring on twitter.
go ahead. >> my roommate works at a montessori preschool. they don't do any sort of video recordings or even listen to recorded music because they think children need space to come up with things on their own. my little cousins are light 4, and they have their little ipad. i don't really have a good way of raising that question, but what do you think? >> it is about cognitive development of young people with access to the toys that we have now. question,ciate that because i think that the
question was asked in such a way that a decision would be implied that either this is a good or bad thing. i suppose everybody has had problems with new things that have come along and said now what is going to happen to our children. that with just the art of writing. many times people have that discussion on that level. that is we should not he any of these things, or we should. and what will that do? whats so much to do with we do with that and what the parents and the teachers do with that. it is possible, like with anything else, if you don't have limits in your home. the toxicity that is potentially ising from the internet
mindboggling. 83-0 orficial nature of 4-year-old learning, it depends on what they give that kid. what kind of material, just like it was with paper and pencil and everything else. for us to have that reading aloudnd being read to and all those things. can decided, if we at the adult level, how can i use this technology to push us forward. that would be great. like anything else, once we put our eggs into one basket and say it is electronics that will make it happen or the lack of electronics that will keep us in good shape, then we are getting away from the real question.
we need to pay attention to these children and constantly synthesizing and how best to do that. that speaks to a lot of parents who are now very unwilling or even fearful of putting limits on any of these things. and i say, well, what does your child do if he's not doing his homework? he spends about phi hours on the internet or with his friends, he's got 200 friends. i don't think he's ever met any of them or talked to them really but he's got 200 of th, whatever they are. you would think this that would be a no brainer in terms of your response to that parent. and yet, my of us, the children have decided the limits. i'm not finished yet. i've only been on for an hour. they get bent out of shape because they're literally addicted to that, or they're addicted to the television. and i think that we can teach
our kids from the beginning, here are the elements. and it can start as a 3-year-old. montessori school, i'm surprised, hopefully that's not a montessori policy, all over mont sore re, i would think he mont sore rewould be the first ones to say, how do we teach the kids to ulize that and use that in an efficient and effective way and then how do we teach them to use other things as well? so i think one of the big things we're going to be ending up teaching this generation is how to balance our lives. and it's really a metaphor. balancing our lives with electronics, versus the weas of learning we had before, only a metaphor for balancing our lives in so many other things as we grow up. >> i'd like to offer some
thoughts on that question. i was sanguine in my last two answers about technology, it's new things, that's great, but there are also reasons for concern, as have always been the case with new technology. when presenting came out, the catholic church was concerned, and they were right to be, because the protestant reformation detieror ated the power of the catholic church. there's always things to be worried about. but today the things to be worried about, i think, is how people form intimate bonds. i think smart phones are incredibly addictive. we are addicted. my wife is always trying to pry me away from my iphone because it is so end lessless fascinating -- endlessly fascinating. there's always another story to read, another emale, at "new york times" thing. it's compelling. so you just stare at your iphone. there are a number of bobbings that have accumulated some data
that this is changing the way we form intimate relationships. nge of sherry turkle's book, "alone together," she talks about psychological profiles of children over the last 20 years, examining the way they form friendship, the number of friendships, the way they interact and she sees a declean in the quality of relationships, which is well worth worrying about. so this is something tt i talk about in my own writing. imagine this high tech future, all these really -- all this realy cool stuff, the problem was that that would be even more addictive than the iphones we have now. it raises the possibility of a future where people live in synthesized worlds and sit alone in their own rooms having virtual relationships and nothing else. i think we really do have to be
concerned about a future like that. i was thinking about this when i was writing the book. one thing i stated was, i took meditation workshops. weekend workshops where you away to a resort in northern california which is where this was happening, and do exercises with other participants like, sit down, face to face and lock someone in the eyes for 60 seconds. that's actlly really hard to do. it's valuable to mto have that coined of practice in encounteringhe other. i was trying to juxtapose a high tech, low touch future, with a high touch, low tech future and trying to say, it is possible to forge a world where wen have both technology and the intimatity -- intimacy of human communicatio together. it is not impossible to imagine a future in which these things an happen.
[applause] >> i would add only a rhetorical question to that, and that is, can an iphone or -- excuse me. or a smart phone build word pictures in the mind of a listener or are the pictures already shown you so you are forced to see the images that are built rather than to manufacture them yourself. which would you prefer? one is fast, the other takes a little skill. >> thank you. next question, please. >> thank you. do you think -- because i've heard reports that a lot of young people, this is, there's more suicides. do you think too much technology might be -- hoith be one of the
problems to that? >> the we was, you know, being -- there's a supposed rise in suicides in young people, you know, do you think technology lays a role in this trend? >> i was just saying that there's a kind of clinical or practical aspect, answer to that question, or discussion of that question. but i'm very interested in knowing about mike's philosophical take on it in general as well. when you hear of a high profile suicide, they been in the context of someone being cyberbullied, i think is the term now, where the essential herbal -- social interactions within something like facebook and the like, are so out there
and open that what used to occur , back biting in the halls of our schools among children or among high schoolers or middle schoolers, that remane there is, so that it was more of a rumor thing, very painful and destructive even then, but now it takes on the role in terms of the facebook type of socialization where any time nyone feels something, it just splatters, not to another person about the ore person but -- or not to that person directly. but it splatters to the hundred people that happen to be stopping in on somebody's facebook, plus, i dwess, the hundreds of friends of those friends. and the whole idea is, is that people -- one of m professors used to tell me when we were coming out with power point
slides and i was able to make slides and put together a presentation very quickly and he said, you know, the bad thing about power point is that you take your ideas and you can have a very interesting and very beautiful looking presentation, but it allows you to be very premature and perhaps not even have thought about what you're going to say becausyou can co-it so quickly and ease he. we used to have to craft the slides and have to do our notes and you know -- a lot of research. he said, i'd rather you not add to the noise out there. do this again and think about it. and i was -- i was very insulted and hurt. but i think the lesson i learned was that he could tell that i had not really thought this through. even if it was an error or whatever, at least he wanted something that reflected some careful thinking about what i was going to say. on the internet, the problem
with that is that there's so much -- i made a note here, of premature -- how many of us have sent an email in response to a message immediately and then we did it so quickly, that it literally did not necessarily reflect and perhaps done damage because we can't take it back. and the same thing even a hundred fold son social media in terms of the things that people say. when you think of the number of -- or put on photos. think of the implications of putting a photo out in public, i mean, we have parents that cringe at somebody else having a photo of their kid if they don't know who it is, think of millions of people having access to that and not being able to take that back. if anything, i think that from a clinical perspective in terms of increase in suicides, i
wondered, how can you be cyberbullied? it's one thing to be on a playground and have somebody bigger than you are beat you up, i understand that, but i can't quite understand how you'd be cyberbullied because you don't have to listen to that, you just turn it off. how can somebody cyberbully you to the point of suicide. the way that happens, after i thought about it, is the humiliation and anything -- even if it's not true. there's no way to take that back. and now enstead of being humiliated to yourself and to your fantasy about who else knows about this or who else has heard this, you don't have to fantsoys, you know thousands of people out there have seen this. and that is one of the tox exthings i see in the social media the way it's organized now and the tox exthing about being able to speak your piece on mail and on that media, immediately before you've even had a chance to think about it and the
destruction possibilities are very real. >> thank you. >> i have a followup on that same point, google is coming out with- fwoogle is coming out with their new google tpwhrass, life with subtitelts as they imagine it, with your camera and recorder on and we already have the memory capability now that not only a goog -- not only google takes a picture but google records my every weaking moment and everything i see. i'm wondering if we as people are going to put up with any time we step out on the street, every action, every word we say in peculiar, may be recorded for all time, may not ever get looked up but now every gaffe, every stupid thing you to, is now recoed and i'm wondering what your thoughs are, if we're going to be able to put up with that? >> thanks. the question related to the new fwoogle tpwhrasses product, and what your thoughts are on the
ramifications of a product of that nature. >> well, i'm fascinated by google tpwhrasses. i can't wait to get a crack at it myself. i think it's a thought experiment, you can't imagine the uses to which it will be put. the practical experience i have for this is that, i interviewed a guy who has been using a version of google glasses for ma, many years. he built himself a rig where he's got these glasses that he can see a projected computer screen hanging in front of him in space. he has a keyboard in his pocket he can take notes on any conversation and then look up those notes when he meets that person 10 or 15 years later and pick up the conversation where it left off. so i think that kind of technology which gives you that incredibly instant access, you
remember, ave to it's going to have positive effects and negative ones. i think one of the potentially negative ones is that kind of distraction. so this guy is kind of hyper. when i was talking to him, i just knew that he was reading stuff off the reen that oy he could see while talking to me at the same time. so he had kind of a permanent case of adhd that's entirely technologically mediated. a deaf ther hand, person, that could be useful, i would love to seeive, accure captions of what people say in noisy rooms. i think the way things like tra gone naturally speaking, the way that works, it's not impossible. when somebody asks a question that i can't entirely peck up,
i'd love to see something like that. i think it would be great in the way individuals and groups can collaborate to give're people access to your information, to create new kinds of teamwork that today would seem magical to us. it's really, as with any technology, there's dangers and benefits at the same time. google tpwhrasses, i'm pited about the benefits and really interested to see what the dangers are. >> i wanted to touch on one point that isn't specifically along the google tpwhrasses but alg the idea of children, adolescents, who are not aware of the implications of what they put on, in terms of photos or maybe keeping track of min-to-minute what they're toning with their -- minute-to-minute what they're doing with their les and now i suppose everybody has had this experience, when you go in for an interview for a job, you've
been googled. i had an attorney we were going to do business with at home and i set it up and so i was talking to the lady at the desk, she was an assistant, and she said, oh, hello, i said i'm going to send thinformation you need. she said, i've already got it. i said, what have you got? well, i've got your address and everything and where you're working, that kind of stuff. i looked at some of the things you've written, very interesting. i began getting kind of chilled. i was just trying to think, what else have i put on the internet? and when i think of some of the kids who very playfully because they could do this playfully before, put up crazy pictures of themselveses or share that with a friend, what happens when e 12-year-old texts something o puts an increept -- but puts a picture they western they had never done and the person
applies for a certain school or pplies for any kind of job and revels in the indiscretions they've had at a certain point. that's the toxic, scary things i think of in terms of recording every event and having it for he peculiar. >> on the subject of scary and hopeful, is there any use of the technology being used to partially rewire, partially help the children you find that have problems? it seems like some of the things that -- some of the problems children have are a wiring thin in their brain almost. is there anything being done that's hopeful? >> the extent to which neurorow transmitters and pathways are getting -- become more crystallized in ters of the assessment tools that are used, in terms of the use oflucose in the brain, lights up certain
pathways which is just incredible. it hopes -- opens up whole new ways of thinking about brain disorders. and certainly the idea, i don't know if it was you that mentioned brain mapping earlier, but somebody did, but that whole idea lends itself very much to the use of technology in terms of the way we're changing the effect on the receptors in certain pathways, we do that with medications right now and a lot of times it's extremely helpful, almost scary how helpful it is to take someone in the midst of a bipolar man exrage, an episode, and it's not matter of calming them down, putting them to sleep or drugging them out, it's a matter of the mother the next day sa i've got my child back. t just totally, it's gone. and so the extent to which the represent re-septemberors are
affected by neurotransmitter replacements is a very real phenomenon. the idea that technologically we may be do a parallel to what's been described by mike, in materials of ideal odgic and other devices, the vista is wide open but wru to the talking to an expert, i'm talking philosophically, as i say, anything that has buttons on it, i'm not supposed to be close to. >> context, microphones, is my mike snon let's talk about context. there was a study that asked how many neurons is it possible to track, between 1960 and now. he went through literature and found out the number of neurons that can be individually watched in the brain is doubling about every seven years.
that's an obvious analogy to moors law. in stevenson's law, the number of trackable neurons doubles about every seven year. it's hard to track now -- it's possible to track between 60 and 200 neurons simultaneously in the brean. but even -- but every seven years if that numbe doubles, by 2040, 2050, it may be eable to track thousands or tens of thousands of neurons in the brain and have a much richer understanding of what gos on in the brain in devastating disorders like par kenson's epilepsy and others and be able to treat them. >> we've reached the time limit. give a warm welcome to our